With 47 students and staff poised to shave their heads on March 17 as part of this year’s school wide fundraiser, West continues towards its final goal of raising $30,000 in donations for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization that provides research grants aiming to find cures for childhood cancers. West has raised $17,000 so far, and the coming weeks will be filled with more opportunities for West to lead the fight against childhood cancer.
This year’s school wide fundraiser differs from those in the past because students and staff are shaving their heads in solidarity with children in cancer treatment. Assistant Principal John Aldworth will be shaving his hair for the cause, too. “Two families that are very close to me have been impacted very strongly by pediatric cancer so my boys and I feel this is one little thing we can do to help,” he said.
Whether directly impacted by the suffering of someone close to them or just wanting to raise awareness, students are finding their own reasons to step up. Senior shavee Lizbeth Vazquez has raised over $150 and will be shaving her head for the second time for this cause, the first time being when she was 12. “I decided to do this when my little four year old cousin was diagnosed with lung cancer,” Vazquez said. “She doesn’t really know what’s going on and I’ve watched her go through this hard time.”
Others can see the long view of how fighting cancer is imperative across all generations. “My grandpa passed away from cancer, so I’m doing this for him and any other little kids going through the same thing too,” freshman Jordan Johann said. “My grandpa’s funeral was on my birthday. When I found out he passed it kind of hit me like a brick. I was only eight.”
Johann shaved his head last year for St. Baldrick’s as an eighth grader at Algonquin Middle School. “It was nerve-racking,” he recalled. “I did it, but it was a smaller school. Now it’s much bigger.”
While many students will shave their heads during lunch periods on the 17th in the caf, the top people to gather direct donations will have their heads shaved during the assembly. “This assembly’s going to be a little different because it’s more of an assembly to celebrate what we’ve done as a community than a pep rally,” Aldworth said. “We’ll still have the pep but more of a celebration of all the money we’ve raised.”
To help raise awareness and spread the word, green t-shirts, tutus and beads are being sold in the book store. Along with the merchandise, events throughout March will open more doors to donate. There will be a Beaver’s Donuts Food Truck in the front drive selling donuts one day, and 20 percent of all purchases will be donated to St. Baldrick’s. Another way to donate, and to potentially get to spend some time with Teddy, the new therapy dog, is to purchase raffle tickets for a free pizza lunch for you and nine of your friends with Teddy. There will be a “Flick and Float” where students will have an opportunity to watch a movie one night in the pool. Fine Arts will be running a coin war among their performance groups, and there will also be a bottle-flipping tournament during lunch periods this Tuesday.
This year’s fundraiser highlights how supportive Warriors can be in the effort to battle childhood cancer. “I think it’s important to know that there are kids out there that are going through this. It’s scary to think that you don’t always know if you’ll have the next day, and you should always be grateful for what you have,” Vazquez said.